Venkaiah Naidu, the Honourable Vice President of India, recently appealed to the voters of India to discipline the 5,000 elected representatives of India in the Parliament and various Legislative Assemblies and Legislative Councils by naming and shaming the legislators who act as “disruptors”.
Disrupted and non-functional legislatures have the potential to disrupt the lives of the people and the dreams of our nation, Mr Naidu said.
He spoke at the first Pranab Mukherjee Memorial Lecture, which Pranab Mukherjee Legacy Foundation organised on the former president’s first death anniversary.
The theme for the lecture was ‘Constitutionalism : The Guarantor of Democracy and Inclusive Growth.’
Calling the campaign ‘Mission 5000’, Mr Naidu stated that this is a landmark year for India as our country is celebrating the 75th year of its independence.
Therefore, he appealed to all the 5,000 legislators of India to resolve and not disrupt the proceedings of any legislature during this year. Doing so this year would automatically become a habit for next years.
This Mission 5,000 is for effective parliamentary democracy. If the elected representatives can change their ways and conduct themselves properly inside the legislatures, he explained that the law-making bodies would surely look much different from what they are now.
Further, he stated that its the earnest desire of the people of our country to witness the qualitative functioning of our legislatures. The Honourable Vice President also prescribed a possible action that the public can take.
Under this mission, the people would be encouraged to identify the representatives from their constituencies who constantly disturb the proceedings of legislatures and thereby hold them accountable because, after all, the salaries of these representatives are being paid by public taxes.
He also suggested launching Mission 5,000 social media handles in the respective constituencies or State-wise, which would post the names of disruptors with comments.
The Need for this Campaign
Mr Naidu’s speech and suggestions have to be seen in the context of the recent cruel monsoon session of the Parliament, which was washed out because of the impasse between the opposition and the government on the Pegasus issue.
Unfortunately, on the last couple of days of the session, the protests by the opposition even turned violent in the Rajya Sabha as important and contentious bills were introduced and passed by the government in the Parliament, ignoring the opposition demands for Parliamentary Committee scrutiny.
Mr Naidu, the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, is considering taking disciplinary action against many MPs from the opposition.
A few days ago, Mr Naidu expressed deep anguish over some MPs from the opposition climbing on the table in the House and said that he couldn’t understand the reason or provocation behind such a “low” in the August House.
He even broke down in the Upper House, stating that he couldn’t sleep because of this blasphemy in the “temple of democracy”.
Speaking at the memorial lecture, he explained that legislatures are places for important issues of public concern and effective law-making, which is beneficial for the people of our country.
But, sadly, “disruption” has emerged as the main instrument in the conduct and functioning of the Parliament.
Such disruptions negate the possibility of the Legislature holding the Executive accountability, which is the bedrock of India’s Parliamentary Democracy.
Thus, while he acknowledged that protests are part and parcel of democracy, he stressed that it is equally important not to breach the House’s dignity and decorum.
To ensure this, he advocated, “Let the government propose, the Opposition oppose and the House dispose.”